For many seniors, the pandemic has been incredibly isolating, stressful, and anxiety-inducing — especially for those with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and coronary artery disease (to name a few). And while social distancing certainly protects older adults from the coronavirus, many seniors are instead experiencing pandemic fatigue and ongoing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Fortunately, relaxation techniques can help seniors to cope with the stress of the coronavirus and improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Check out these ideas to explore some of the things seniors can do to relax and unwind while staying safe at home or in a facility amidst COVID-19.
Practice Yoga and Tai Chi
No matter your age, gentle exercises like yoga and tai chi can help boost your physical health while also relieving stress, improving your mood, and decreasing feelings of anxiety and depression. But according to Healthline, the health benefits of tai chi don’t stop there. Tai chi may even boost cognitive and motor function, as well as improve symptoms of COPD, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. Similarly, yoga can improve everything from respiratory health and high blood pressure to balance, flexibility, and anxiety.
If you’re hoping to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being while staying safe at home during the pandemic, you can find numerous online classes that have been created specifically for seniors. A few great options include:
- Yoga for Seniors (Yoga with Adriene).
- Beginner Flow for 55+ (DoYogaWithMe).
- Intro to Tai Chi (AARP).
For more classes that can be practiced from the safety of your living room, try searching for senior-friendly yoga and tai chi videos on YouTube. You can also check out YouTube channels such as FitnessBlender, POPSUGAR Fitness, Yoga with Adriene, and DoYogaWithMe.
Enjoy Virtual Classes, Services, and Tours
In addition to practicing yoga and tai chi for improved physical and mental health, virtual classes, church services, and tours can help you to unwind and de-stress amidst COVID-19. Through websites like the Online Faith Collective, you can search for virtual worship services by religious denomination. Additionally, you can find free painting tutorials and other virtual experiences such as tours, musicals, orchestras, and so much more.
Check In With Loved Ones
As Peggy’s Place points out, loneliness is not only harmful to your physical health but to your emotional health as well. And even though you’re staying home as much as possible and following social distancing guidelines, it’s important to connect with friends, family, and other loved ones as often as you can.
Remember to call your loved ones regularly, chat via text messaging, and meet for virtual gatherings on Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. You can even play online multiplayer games with your loved ones, including favorites such as Words with Friends and Scrabble.
Seek Professional Mental Health Services
If you’ve tried these relaxation techniques but are still having trouble coping with stress and anxiety amidst COVID-19, it may be time to meet with a mental health professional. In most cases, your health insurance policy will cover all or part of your mental health care expenses.
If you receive health insurance coverage through Medicare Part B, for instance, covered mental health services may include:
- Annual depression screenings.
- Treatments for mental health conditions, including counseling and therapy.
- Prescription medications for depression and anxiety.
As an alternative to meeting with a covered primary care provider, psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor, you could use online therapy services such as Talkspace or BetterHelp. Your health insurance policy may cover online therapy services, but you’ll want to check with your provider before booking your first appointment.
In a Nutshell
If you’re a senior who’s struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, relief is possible. With these simple relaxation techniques — and the help of a trained mental health professional — you’ll learn how to cope with the stress of the pandemic and stay happy, healthy, and safe at home. And if you need more support, consider enrolling at Peggy’s Place Adult Day Care.